SC dismisses contempt of court plea against heads of political parties

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a plea seeking the initiation of contempt proceedings against heads of political parties for not complying with its directions to prevent the criminalisation of politics in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls held earlier this year.

A bench of Justices BR Gavai and PS Narasimha refused to entertain the contempt plea saying Election Commission is the competent authority to decide the issue.

It was hearing a plea filed by advocate Brajesh Singh seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against several party leaders including Sonia Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal, Akhilesh Yadav, JP Nadda and Mayawati among others.

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These parties did not comply with the Supreme Court’s August 2021 verdict to declare criminal antecedents of its Uttar Pradesh assembly poll candidates, stated the plea.

In August 2021, the apex court directed the political parties to upload on their websites and social media platforms the details of pending criminal cases against their candidates and the reasons for selecting them as also for not giving tickets to those without criminal antecedents.

These details should be published within 48 hours of the selection of the candidate or at least two weeks before the first date for filing of nominations, whichever is earlier, the verdict had said.

The top court had further directed that the details should also be published on official social media platforms of the political parties, including Facebook and Twitter, and also in one local vernacular and one national newspaper.

A five-judge Constitution Bench in September 2018 held that all candidates will have to declare their criminal antecedents to the Election Commission before contesting polls and called for wider publicity.

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